Fri Jan 23, Q. 25: Of Heaven and Earth
25. Why do you add that He is Creator of heaven and earth?
Because He has manifested Himself to us by works [Ps. 104; Rom. 1:20] we ought to seek Him in them. Our mind cannot comprehend His essence. But the world is for us like a mirror in which we may contemplate Him in so far as it is expedient for us to know Him.
The Puritans, who were some of Calvin’s English and American theological descendants, saw that there were two “books” that revealed God: The Scriptures and the created order (or nature). Their belief was consistent with the witness of Scripture—that “the heavens declare the glory of God and the sky above proclaims his handiwork,” and “the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes” (Ps 19:1, 8). It also was a belief that reflected the covenantal tie of the people of God to obedience to the book of the covenant of the commandments of God by means of an oath in which “heaven and earth” were witnesses (Dt. 30:19; 31:28; 32:1). Every look into the day or nighttime sky, and every glimpse of the land, the seas, and all contained therein, were to point the people of God back to the covenant they had made with their Creator—the one who had redeemed them out of the land of slavery.
Meditation on the created order is good. Sitting on the beach and watching the waves, observing the variety of species of sea life at an aquarium or on a show like Nature, and trying to drive home through a storm of the strongest of winds have each been moments of great revelation for me. It is at those times when I have come to think more deeply on the glory of the power and creativity of the Almighty God. They have provided moments of great fear of him—the fear that stirs up a deeper love for him and greater joy in knowing that he has forgiven my sins rather than destroying me in the power of his awesome and terrible wrath. I shutter as I ponder the thought of even an ounce of the power of his winds or waves turned on me; I bow as I think that this same God gave his Son for me.
Calvin is right; in these thoughts, still, our finite minds are being informed by a mirror glimpse of the complete essence of God. We have only come to Job’s outskirts and whisper of the Lord and his ways (Job 26). But we are so thankful that he has held up the mirror of heaven and earth so that we can see just this much of him.